It has been a household staple for decades, but is Kraft Mac and Cheese healthy? Though Kraft has changed its formulation over the years to become free from artificial flavors and colors, it continues to hold the reputation of being less healthy than its newer competitors. This Kraft Mac and Cheese dietitian review will help you decide if this household favorite is a healthy addition to your grocery cart. Read on for our dietitian review of taste, nutritional properties, and ingredients before you buy.
About Kraft Mac and Cheese
Kraft Mac and Cheese, also known as Kraft Dinner in Canada, is a shelf-stable macaroni and cheese kit. Kraft has been a household staple for decades, but in 2016 changed its formulation by removing artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
Taste & Texture
Kraft macaroni and cheese has a thin, soft noodle texture and a cheesy, buttery, salty flavor.
Kraft Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Note: the formulation of food products can change. Always check the nutrition label for the most up-to-date ingredient, nutrition, and allergen information before consuming.
Enriched macaroni ingredients:
Wheat flour: white, refined flour that provides a source of carbohydrates.
Durum flour: type of flour commonly used in pasta making.
Vitamins/Minerals: niacin, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin monohydrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid.
Cheese sauce mix ingredients:
Whey: one of the two proteins found in milk.
Milkfat: mostly saturated fat sourced from cow’s milk.
Salt: a source of sodium added for flavor.
Milk protein concentrate: concentrated milk protein containing both whey and casein proteins.
Sodium triphosphate: emulsifier, thickening agent, and stabilizing agent.
Tapioca flour: used to thicken the cheese sauce.
Citric acid: used in cheese making.
Calcium phosphate: an anti-caking agent used to improve the texture of foods.
Sodium phosphate: emulsifier, thickening agent, and stabilizing agent.
Lactic acid: used in cheese making.
Paprika: added as a natural source of color.
Annatto: added as a natural source of color.
Cheese culture: used in cheese making.
Enzymes: used in cheese making.
Contains wheat and milk. Always check the product label for up-to-date ingredient and nutrition information.
Kraft Mac and Cheese Nutrition Facts
Per 85g serving.
Fat: 2.5g, from milkfat.
Saturated fat: 1g, from milkfat.
Carbohydrate: 60g, from wheat and durum flour.
Fiber: 1g, from wheat and durum flour.
Sugar: 8.5g, from milk.
Protein: 11g, from wheat and durum flour, and milk.
Cholesterol: 6mg, from milkfat.
Sodium: 668mg, from added salt.
Potassium: 340mg, from wheat and durum flour and milk.
Calcium: 146mg, from milk.
Iron: 3mg, from ferrous sulfate.
Kraft Mac and Cheese Cost
Kraft is available for $1.57 (CAD) or $1.23 (USD).
Is Kraft Mac and Cheese Healthy?
We scored Kraft Mac and Cheese at 50 out of 100. On the positive side, Kraft Mac and Chees is a source of protein and lower in saturated fat than some other boxed mac and cheese brands on the market. However, it is low in fiber and lacks the overall nutrition needed for a full balanced meal.
I get that boxed mac and cheese can be a nostalgic family favorite (in my house, too!). If this is the case for you and your family, try serving it with a side of vegetables (to boost fiber) and additional protein to keep things balanced. Think: 1/2 your plate veggies, 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate mac and cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kraft Mac and Cheese gluten-free?
No, Kraft Mac and Cheese contains wheat and is not gluten-free.
Is Kraft Mac and Cheese vegetarian?
Kraft Mac and Cheese is appropriate for those following a vegetarian diet that includes dairy.
How to make Kraft Mac and Cheese healthier?
Serve Kraft Mac and Cheese as a side dish with protein and vegetables for a more balanced meal.
Is Kraft Mac and Cheese made with real cheese?
Kraft Mac and Cheese uses a powdered cheese sauce that contains dairy ingredients, and similar ingredients used in cheese making, such as citric acid, cultures, and enzymes.
Is Kraft Mac and Cheese nut-free?
Kraft Mac and Cheese does not list nuts on the ingredient list or allergen statement. Always check the food label for the most up-to-date allergen and ingredient information before consuming.
Is Kraft Mac and Cheese vegan?
No, Kraft contains dairy and is not considered vegan.
Which is healthier – Kraft Mac and Cheese or Annie’s?
Check out our full blog post: Kraft vs. Annie’s Mac and Cheese: Which is Healthier? for everything you need to know!